DEAD TO ME
BY: MARY MCCOY
Los Angeles, 1948: “Don’t believe anything they say” were the last words that Alice’s older sister, Annie, said the day she disappeared. Now four years later, 16 year old Alice is called to the hospital where she finds Annie, badly beaten and in a coma. Their father works for a movie studio and their mother was an actress in low budget films. They didn’t quite make it to the big time so they were grooming Annie and Alice to be stars. Annie didn’t want to be a star and, after a volatile argument, Annie disappeared. For the past four years, her dysfunctional parents have acted like Annie didn’t exist. Now, drawing on her favorite detective novels from the 1940’s, Alice believes that she can be as good as Sam Spade or Phillip Marlowe in finding out where Annie has been for the last four years and why she was beaten, almost to death.
Hiding the fact that Annie is in the hospital, her investigation takes her to the underbelly of Hollywood including a dangerous but very handsome movie star, gangsters, a hard boiled private eye who might or might not be trying to help Annie, pornographers, a runaway Annie was trying to help and a corrupt Los Angeles Police Department. Snooping in her father’s office, Alice finds evidence that might implicate him, too. The more she digs into Annie’s dark past, the more see realizes that the shiny glamour of Hollywood is a facade. This gritty noirish style mystery has twists and turns, red herrings and a great setting. The author is a teen librarian at the Los Angeles Public library who has written articles about Hollywood’s dark past and her research is evident in this terrific book.
Teen Historical Fiction
Grades 9- Adult